Postcard mailed to Americans to boast of Trump’s role in stimulus checks cost $28 million

A postcard mailer that went out all American homes to highlight President Donald Trump’s role in the stimulus check program cost the government $28 million. Read the rest

Who will rescue the U.S. Postal Service?

Maybe this coalition of 1200 tech, business, and news organizations

Help save the USPS with this Dog Mail Carrier Costume

You probably heard that the U.S. Postal Service is tanking, expecting to run out of money by October 2020. Interestingly, it's not funded by taxpayers, but entirely through the sale of postage, gifts, and services. So, now there's a growing movement to help save them by purchasing postage stamps and other products from their online store. Like this Dog Mail Carrier Costume for $17.99. So, do your part, dog owners!

P.S. I'll take one of these, please!

Thanks, Carolee! Read the rest

Trump calls U.S. Postal Service 'a joke,' threatens defunding if it won't raise Amazon's rate

“The Postal Service is a joke,” said the President of the United States.

They're never going to get rid of the Postal Service because then who would deliver the scorpions?

The White House reportedly rejected a recent funding request from the US Postal Service, which predicted that it would soon run out of cash flow, thanks in part to coronavirus. Based on a quick glance at my Twitter feed, there are lots of people who are understandably concerned that this is all part of a larger GOP plot to destroy USPS, along with all other public institutions.

Considering that the Post Office would actually be a successful business if not for the GOP-sponsored Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, sometimes known as "one of the most insane laws Congress ever enacted," this is a valid concern. When people say that USPS is not a profitable business, it's specifically because of that law, which legally forbids them from making a profit, and also requires the Postal Service to fully refund its retirees' benefits 75 years in advance. No other company or organization — public or private — has ever done something that absurd. And it was clearly a deliberate move.

But here's the thing: they're never going to get rid of the Postal Service, not entirely. Because USPS is the only entity that will ship live scorpions. And that's an important public service. (Yes, they technically say that it has to be "for the purposes of medical research use or the manufacture of antivenin" but that's easy to get around.)

There's also the fact that FedEx and UPS rely on the US Postal Service for about a third of their services — particularly for "last mile" deliveries. Read the rest

Ruth Asawa postage stamps are coming soon: U.S. Postal Service

It brings me, and my future sheltered-in-place mail art projects, a lot of joy that Ruth Asawa postage stamps have been announced. Read the rest

US mail carrier filled storage unit with mail because he felt too "pressured" to deliver it

Former Chesapeake, Virginia mail carrier Jason Delacruz pleaded guilty to delay of mail by a postal employee. He had been caught filling a storage unit for "the sole purpose of storing mail he could not deliver," according to the court records. According to the report, Delacruz felt "pressured" and was unable to "make time" to get it all delivered. He will be sentenced next month. Apparently there were more than 5,000 pieces of undelivered mail but that number reportedly includes a whopping 4,700 advertisements. From CNN:

The employee said he started hiding mail in November or December 2018 and he rented the storage unit in February 2019, according to court records. He said he put mail he was unable to deliver in the unit from that time up until he was discovered in May 2019.

Delacruz told authorities he intended to deliver the mail in the storage unit, but he fell behind and was never able to, according to court documents. He said he never destroyed any mail.

image: Alexander Marks (public domain) Read the rest

The Ellsworth Kelly postage stamps have arrived

Ellsworth Kelly USPS stamps

Just a few years after his death, there are now postage stamps showcasing the colorful art of Ellsworth Kelly. The U.S. Postal Service released these Forever stamps at the end of May, and they feature ten of his pieces: “Yellow White” (1961), “Colors for a Large Wall” (1951), “Blue Red Rocker” (1963), “Spectrum I” (1953), South Ferry, (1956), “Blue Green” (1962), “Orange Red Relief for Delphine Seyrig” (1990), “Meschers”, (1951), “Red Blue” (1964), and “Gaza” (1956). $11 for a sheet of 20 stamps.

(RED) Read the rest

Sanders and AOC team up for an anti-loansharking bill that will replace payday lenders with post-office banking

Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jointly introduced The Loan Shark Prevention Act, which will cap credit card interest rates at 15% (and closes the loopholes that lets credit card issuers exceed their stated APRs with the use of hidden fees) and which re-establishes American post-office banking. Read the rest

An overworked US postal worker shares what life is like delivering Amazon packages

In late 2013, the United States Postal Service entered into an agreement with Amazon to deliver its packages alongside the regular mail and, on Sundays, to deliver their packages exclusively. Because the USPS receives no federal funding and was operating in a multi-billion dollar loss, it was thought that this agreement would generate much-needed revenue for them, and it has. Read the rest

Outfits to indoctrinate the future postal worker in your life

Just kidding, these are officially-licensed USPS U.S. Mail Carrier costumes for kids and they're adorable at that.

At $24.95, I might just buy one for that swell shoulder bag.

Thanks, EPS! Read the rest

USPS says Amazon should pay 9-12% more for shipping, after Trump criticizes USPS for not charging Amazon more

The United States Postal Service (USPS) wants to raise the fees it charges Amazon.com and other internet commerce shippers by 9 to 12 percent. This comes just months after President Donald Trump criticized the USPS, saying it gives Amazon too good of a deal. Read the rest

Having your mail delivered by rocket is the most 1950s futurist thing ever

Before the Internet was a thing, the postal service was a big deal for folks flung far from one another. Back in the mid-20th century, a phone call from one coast to the other, no matter how brief, would see you paying through the nose. As such, the postal service reigned supreme when it came to staying in touch in an intimate, personal manner. There was just one problem: unless you paid for rushed delivery, using the postal service to send a letter or other document was, and still is, slow as hell.

Thank God for rocket-powered mail delivery! The future of mail!

Well, they thought it was, at the time. Read the rest

United States Postal Service issuing Mister Rogers stamp

On March 23, the United States Postal Service will issue a Mister Rogers stamp celebrating the host of the iconic children's TV show. The dedication will take place in the Fred Rogers Studio at Pittsburgh's WQED, the place where "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” began. Read the rest

E-commerce is clogging American cities with real delivery trucks

Convenience always carries costs. In the case of e-commerce, the surge in residential deliveries is causing in urban gridlock. Citylab goes out on delivery routes for their interesting report: Read the rest

USPS usage declines, but sloppy postal surveillance is way, way up

Surveillance requests for "postal metadata" climbed 600% in recent years, often undertaken with badly formed or expired warrants. Read the rest

Postal service missing thousands of scanners

You know that mysterious Postal Service gadget that's been in your desk drawer since the day you took the job? Or perhaps it's on top of a cupboard in the mailroom, by the dessicated remains of a long-dead potted plant.

Either way, the service wants it back. Thousands of USPS hand-held scanners are missing, and it has run out of new ones.

"We have a critical shortage," writes the service's Jim Cochrane in a press release. "Check storage areas and cabinets. Talk with everyone who has been a part of the program. Let’s find them and get them back in inventory."

Handed out as part of the Surface Visibility program, which began in 2004, the scanners are used to collect data on letters and packages. As time has gone by, nearly 2,300 of them have fallen into disuse without being returned to the service.

Refurbishing existing handsets avoids the expense of manufacturing new ones: an unappetizing prospect, given the USPS's business woes.

The Postal Service wants them back before the end of January, 2012, with any batteries removed. Send them to: Critical Parts Center, Attn: Surface Visibility Recovery Program, 758 Columbia Road, Suite 101, Plainfield, IN 46168. More information is at the USPS's Surface Visibility page. Read the rest